Questions to ask an aspiring small business owner

By Gil Martinez | November 17, 2017 | Last updated on November 17, 2017
2 min read

In the first 10 minutes of a meeting, your client says:

We went leaf-peeping on the Cabot Trail. We had a great time but our B&B was horrible. I could do it so much better!

At that moment

  • Ask your client about her trip, whether the colour was at its peak and why her B&B was inadequate.
  • Find out what part of the experience she could do better: the accommodation, meals or location? How long has she thought about running an inn?
  • What does innkeeping look like for your client? Does she like meeting new people? Or is she looking for a business idea that allows her to live in an area she likes?

Later in the meeting

Offer to look at your client’s portfolio and help her figure out how she can afford to make this dream a reality:

  • Can she afford to invest in a property, or would she have to sell her home? Does she need a loan?
  • Would she live in the property, or hire someone to run the business?
  • Is your client prepared for a physically demanding full-time job? Has she studied economic trends to make sure tourism is thriving in her desired area?

Before your next meeting

  • Send your client contact information for the chamber of commerce in the region she has in mind. And suggest she visit : the government website has a tool to search by region and business type to find out which permits she’ll need.

At your next meeting

  • Identify any money in her portfolio she may use for cash flow or income while her new venture gets off the ground.
  • Offer to connect her with an accountant you trust who specializes in that field. Whether she lives on-site or off-premises, each province has different rules and offers different tax advantages to B&B owners.
  • Follow up with your client every few months to help her stay on track.

by Gil Martinez, art director of Advisor Group

Gil Martinez